After more than a year of speculation, rumors, supposed confirmations, and other talk that never amounted to much of anything, Universal has finally decided who will take the sought-after roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in their adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. After rumors surfaced last month that Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson of 21 Jump Street were on the studio's radar, Universal has now issued a statement confirming both are now strapped in for the lead roles. And yep, that's an intentional S&M joke.
The news has since been backed up by a tweet by author E.L. James, whose saucy novel began as Twilight fan-fiction and has since skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller charts. It follows the dangerous, erotic BDSM relationship between billionaire Christian Grey (Hunnam) and the sexually inexperienced Anastasia Steele (Johnson). The other two books in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, will presumably be next if this one proves to be the hit Universal expects it to be.
Hunnam is a star on the rise, having just played the heroic lead in Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim. He also has a role in the director's upcoming ghost story, Crimson Peak. Johnson is coming off the recently-canceled sitcom Ben and Kate, and is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. She's had a couple of scene-stealing performances in The Social Network, 21 Jump Street, and The Five-Year Engagement, but this is obviously the biggest part of her career.
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey is expected to hit on August 1st 2014.